- Yield: 24
- Prep Time: 5h 00 min
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
Irish Coffee Petit Fours
So I should probably start with an apology for not updating this blog in such a long time. But I've been busy moving back to Germany and everything that comes with that. From finding an apartment to finding a foothold, to finding time for cooking and baking again. I try to do better.
This weekend, people all over the world celebrated the patron saint of
heavy drinkers Ireland, St. Patrick. Chicago dies its river green, people throw on whatever green garment they find in their wardrobe, bar fights are the universal sign the party reached its boiling point, everybody indulges in whiskey and Guiness. Now while I support any opportunity to drink some whiskey, I find the other traditional beverage utterly repellent. Is it just me or does Guiness feel and taste like machine oil in your mouth?
Still, the high holiday and the occurrence of a front of cold and ugly weather was reason enough to stay in and muse about a weekend cooking/baking project. Remembering a baking show a little while ago, where the contestants had to make petit fours, I decided that would be a great idea (it was really not) and started thinking about flavors.
I think back fondly of quite a number of weekend days spent drinking Irish Coffees in beautiful San Francisco where it allegedly was invented at Buena Vista Café. True or not, there's something about getting tipsy and wide awake at the same time so there I had my flavor profile for the tiny cakes. The rest was coming up with recipes that work and just get it done.
While I did get it done, in hindsight I would have been much better off making a traditional cake or a swiss roll. They both look great, too and you save tons of time with the finishing because you only have to do one item vs. 24 in my case. The recipe makes one half sheetpan which you can easily just fill and roll up into a tasty and great looking roll. So I leave it to you, if you want to spend the extra time to assemble miniature cakes, when the flavor in the end is the same.
If you decide to do the roll, spread the buttercream over the cake and roll up. Brush the apricot preserves all over the roll and cover with a thin layer of marzipan before coating it all with a dark ganache. It is up to you, if you add another layer of buttercream between marzipan and chocolate.
- For the Cake:
- Dark Chocolate - 75g / 2.6oz
- Butter - 50g / 1.7oz
- Instant Espresso Powder - 1 tsp
- Granulated Sugar - 100g / 3.5oz
- Eggs - 5
- Salt - 1/4 tsp
- All Purpose Flour - 110g / 3.9oz
- Cornstarch - 75g / 2.6oz
- Backing Powder - 1 tsp
- Whiskey - 4 tbsp
- For the Buttercream
- Egg whites - 100g / 2.6oz (~3 eggs)
- Granulated Sugar - 150g / 5.2oz
- Vanilla Bean - seeds of
- Cream of Tartar - 1/4 tsp
- Butter - 250g / 8.8oz (~16 tbsp)
- Salt - 1/4 tsp
- For the Ganache
- Dark Chocolate - 300g / 10.5oz
- Heavy Cream - 300g / 10.5oz
- Instant Espresso Powder - pinch
- To assemble
- Marzipan - 250g / 8.8oz
- Apricot Preserves - 1/4 cup
- Whiskey - 2 tbsp
Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Put eggs and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high until very pale and fluffy (ribbon stage).
- While the egg and sugar mixture is beating, melt butter and chocolate over warm water. Make sure the mixture doesn't get warm but just melts.
- Stir in the espresso powder.
- Gently stir chocolate mixture into the eggs until fully incorporated.
- Sift the flour mixture onto the eggs and fold in to just combine.
- Pour onto the baking sheet and spread into a thin and even layer.
- Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Invert onto a parchment paper dusted with corn starch and cool completely.
- Brush whiskey onto the cake. Work in steps, not using all the whiskey at once.
Make the Buttercream
- Add egg whites, sugar, vanilla seeds, and cream of tartar into a heatproof bowl and set over a hot water bath. Make sure, the bowl does not touch the bottom of the pot.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir and scrape down sides until the mixture reaches about 80°C / 175°F. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. If it takes longer, increase the heat of your water.
- Once the mixture reaches the temperature, transfer to the bowl of an electric stand mixer (you can also use the metal bowl of the mixer to do the heating).
- Beat on high for about 10 minutes until the mixture is cool to the touch and super white and fluffy.
- With the mixer still on high, beat in the room temperature (18-20°C / 64-68°F) butter, 1 - 2 tbsp at a time. The mixture will lose volume and look soupy at some point, just keep adding and incorporating butter and in the end you will have a smooth and fluffy buttercream.
Make the Ganache:
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heat proof bowl.
- Bring the cream and the instant espresso powder to a simmer and pour over the chocolate.
- Do not move or touch for 5 minutes
- After 5 minutes, start stirring the mixture from the center until it is smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- Pour apricot preserves into a small pot and heat up. Then push through a strainer to get rid of all pieces of fruit. Stir in the whiskey and let cool.
- Cut the cake plate in half and spread one half with buttercream. You don't want to overfill or underfill. The filling should be 2/3 of the thickness of the cake.
- Press the second cake half on top and spread the top with the apricot preserve.
- Roll out the marzipan to a very thin plate, roughly the size of the cake stack. Using confectioner sugar helps the marzipan to not stick to everything!
- Cover the cake stack with the marzipan, press onto the apricot preserves and chill the entire thing for at least one hour.
- After chilling, use a serrated knife to cut the cake into straight edges and then into small squares about 4x4cm (1.5''x1.5'').
- Use an offset spatula to cover the sides of the little squares with a very thin layer of buttercream. After that, chill the little cakes for at least 2 hours so the buttercream can set.
- After chilling, cover the cakes with a chocolate ganache or fondant. I tried both and I very much prefer the taste of the ganache over the fondant. It adds less sweetness, especially when using dark chocolate.
- After they're covered in the ganache, decorate!
Leftover buttercream can be put into a freezer bag with the air pressed out. It keeps 1 - 2 weeks in the fridge and 2 - 3 months in the freezer.
Store the petit fours in the fridge. But let them come to room temperature before you eat or the buttercream will be too thick and the flavors won't be as intense.